Posted tagged ‘Interact08’

Interact08: Marissa Mayer, Live!

29, September, 2008

Google’s Out-in-Front Woman, speaking at Interact08. High points via liveblog:

1. 20 percent time. At one point, 50 percent of Google’s newer products came from the “20 percent time”–the 20 percent of time all Google staffers are allotted to work on personal stuff with no relationship to their current “real” work. Drives constant innovation.

2. Beyond the wiki: Internal 2.0 at Google HQ: Every Monday, people file their “snippets”–5 bullets of what they’re working on. All are submitted, published, searchable–transparent organization to share knowledge easily.

3. Behind the curtain. Shows a diagram that illustrates how a query moves from end user, through the massive Google backend, and back to the user. How? Via 400-1,000 machines! All in .2 seconds! Um, cool, in a hyperspeed 1999 way.

4. Castle-building vs. iterating. Instead of building the One Great Thing for years [as Apple famously does], Google launches products  “early and often,” driven by response to users.

5. How do you iterate? Use data to drive decisions. “Data is apolitical.”

6. So: Split A/B testing [n.b. a case of spontaneous generation; Amazon came up with the same technique at the same time]. Different users see different products or results, and the outcomes of these interactions drive future iterations. Great example about how subtle differences in vertical spacing had effects on search behavior. Also, via same technique: users liked blue, not yellow, boxes for search ads. Also, Google launched with 10 results per page. When they put more results on page to see if that’s the right number, searches dropped 20 percent. Why? Slower delivery of results, as tiny as those differences are, discourage people. And: Adwords succeeded because of immediate posting of ads.

7. Future of Search? One Saturday, Mayer kept track of all her searches that didn’t produce results. She showed a whole presentation screen to show all the failures. Among them: What is the largest city in Russia after Moscow and St. Petersburg? “J.C. Penney” near an obscure town in South Dakota, many dozen others.

So how will search improve over the coming years?

New Modes

Ubiquitous mobile–in car, wearable devices, eyeglass displays, watch that keeps track as you speak and produces results. You can embed search into everyday life.

New inputs–why can’t you talk to a search engine, or type in natural language? Why can’t you use an image or tune as your search query?

New Media

Google search results currently return 10 urls. Maybe it can produce 10 “answers”? Or: Now we return some video for proper queries [“how to do the charleston dance” query produces a video that shows you how]. “How to tie a bow tie” is better–the search currently returns diagrams and demos. Media needs to respond more to the nature of the query.

Personalization

The coming engines will understand more about the user–based on geography, past searches, personal preferences, who your friends are, other contextual information, etc.

Takeaway impressions: Google’s process of persistent iteration explains why they remain market leaders. The use of “20 percent” time drives the company forward. Mayer is brilliant.

Damn. I hate it when Google looks indestructible.

LiveBlog Interact08, cont’d: Creativity

29, September, 2008

Pith load from panel on creativity

“Creativity is not being a designer or programming, it’s the ability to solve a problem.”

Joanna Champagne, National Gallery of Art, on government use of social media

In process of expanding digital programs. Why not still use the “best architects” in the digital program? We want a website that does the same thing.

Must be true to the spirit of our founding…Andrew Mellon! How do we make the digital world that’s. . .as solid and fundamental? He said: “This is a new relationship between paint and stone.” We want to give the gift again in the digital world.

Website hasn’t been touched in 10 years. How to be true to the mission in the digital environment? Ideas:

Pilot and Play. It opens doors, sounds unthreatening.

Launched a mobile tool, a cellphone tour, to learn where the audience is geographically–and to provide a remote way to tour the museum. “Endears” people to the collection.

Example two: Interactive tables–touchscreen in the midst of the exhibition hall.

Iterate until you have enough successes to win support.

Be Yourself Online. Even for government organizations.

Postal service site is “gorgeous,” partnered with John Adams and Star Wars. Department of Education also very good. “Improve morale” as image of agency is transformed via consumer-facing web.

Leave the Building. Hard to get outside the office.

Put reprints outside on walls to literally get out of building.

Use Facebook. So many museum sites on Facebook–it’s become a forum for museum insiders to connect and share good ideas.

Nick Law, Creativity in the Digital Age

Two examples of leveraging user involvement with technology to elevate the brand experience.

NikeID.com: User-generated shoes, online. Not a matter of art director and copy writer going off somewhere. It’s about creating an interface–needs to be emotional, have brand texture to it.

NikePlus: Links music [iPod], athletics [running], technology [sensor in shoe] and social community [web interface for events, personal information, real-time dialog, sharing information, post-race creativity]. 780,000 ran a 10k with NikePlus, linking this all.

LiveBlog Interact08: Marketing with Social Web

29, September, 2008

Ripe quotes from Brian Williams, Viget Labs

“Your product is your marketing campaign.” For instance: Google, iPhone

Your business, whether you like it or not, is accessible, transparent, and authentic. Even if the only presence on the web is from a disgruntled employee from two years ago–that’s your business.

How to get aboard? Unleash your inner geek: Just jump on, sign up for Twitter. It’s changing constantly. But at least you need to understand what this space is like.

For businesses, “De-specialize.” Everybody needs to participate in social engagement online.

From John Bell, Ogilvy PR, 360 degree Digital Experience

“The Attention Crash”–people fatigued by new, multiple technologies. How do you drink from the firehose without drowning? Give yourself a certain amount of time each week for experimentation.

Need for constant, fast internal training. Things move so fast it has to be regular. [Now trying “Yammer,” Twitter for the enterprise.]

Ted Leonsis, Superstar

29, September, 2008

Liveblog from Interact08

Opening session: “Shift Happens,” by Ted Leonsis, vice-chairman emeritus AOL, sage, sports franchise co-owner–all around investor, booster and mentor to many web startups. Said to have coined the phrase “new media” [fact-check that one].

Consumer currently feels “shattered”–in New York last week, it felt to him “like the week after 9/11”

Presidential race is a “turning point” for the integration of Web 2.0

New products, etc. need to be created for 3-screens

How consumers consume: Free, on-demand, mashed up, shared, raw and authentic.

“Our children are growing up in a world where free is better than paid.” Pay-based businesses will “die.”

“People ask me, ‘Where are your people?’ I don’t have people.” Part of being “authentic,” people can smell b.s. a mile away.”

Globalization: We don’t know how to translate international uniques into currency. [Chinese will develop 300,000 math PhDs this year. We’ll graduate 20,000. Marketing is increasingly for math majors. What does this mean to U.S. business?]

What do consumers give you? Money, time, pixels. You need to think in terms of those currencies.

“Ted’s Take”: I blog every day. I don’t like it anymore when people type my name into Google and see the first thing that comes up is a bad [Washington Post] article. My content is now at the top. “It’s important you take control of” your search results.

How this is blurring work and pleasure: A worker arrives at the office and logs first into fantasy football on Monday a.m., yet handled 300 e-mails on Sunday.

Discusses “filmanthropy“–movies with messages, creating a second bottom line. Just launched snagfilms.com, in partnership with Clearspring [in which he invests]. Cuts films into film widgets–now 61 million views. In U.S., there are 500 indie theaters; we have 12,000 virtual theaters.

The Internet is powerful because it enhances all of the following. It’s what all my businesses are designed around.

  • relationships in communities of interest
  • self-expression
  • giving back
  • pursuing a higher calling